Let the craziness begin. With September comes the cool touch of morning fog, the sound of Canada Geese, the sight of fall foliage, and the taste of newly harvested apples. What’s most striking, however, is the mind-scrambling list of things to do. It’s like someone has thrown 100 balls in the air for each person to catch.
School children were enjoying their last free weeks of summer in mid-August when stores began putting Halloween candy and costumes in the aisles. Against our will, retailers have placed us on a conveyor belt on the fast track to Christmas, which starts a new run of holidays that won’t end until next summer. So much for the school year.
As Tropical Storm Irene slammed the door on our summer of fun, she turned our world upside down. For motorists, detours are an inconvenience, but for some residents, the damage to their homes and businesses was life-altering. Many had no flood insurance. Many are still trying to clean up and rebuild. Many are hurrying before the onset of winter.
With or without the governor’s “Labor for Your Neighbor” program, neighbors would have helped each other out, rebuilding and raising money for recovery. And although we take exception to the volunteers’ white T-shirts that said, “Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Labor for Your Neighbor Hurricane Clean-Up Team,” because it seems a little self-promotional, we think it was a great idea to mobilize volunteers in hard-hit communities and put volunteerism up on a pedestal where it belongs.
We give the governor points for building a “team” and getting things done. He even got a number of administration officials to volunteer on Labor Day weekend in Irene-suffering communities throughout the state.
With a slick PR campaign surrounding his every move, perhaps a run for the White House is in Mr. Cuomo’s future come 2016.
When visiting Keene on Labor Day, the governor dressed the part with blue jeans and work boots. Although his white governor’s shirt got soaked with rain, it did not get dirty, despite Cuomo’s having carried a single bucket of mud from one end of a yard to the other, just so we could snap a picture of New York’s chief “at work.” We commend one newspaper columnist, a Keene Valley resident, for refusing to take Cuomo’s picture during the bucket shot.
Give him credit. Andrew Cuomo gets things done. From an on-time state budget to a same-sex marriage law, rebuilding roads and bridges after the spring floods, and rebuilding Route 73 from Keene Valley to the Northway after Tropical Storm Irene, people jump when the governor says “jump.”
Experts told Cuomo it would take several months to open Route 73. But did he listen? No.
“I believe we can get one lane open in 10 days,” Cuomo said at the Keene firehouse Sept. 5. “After 10 days, I told the team in Albany, ‘Either wheels are going to roll or heads are going to roll.’”
Now that’s the kind of leadership we need.
And let’s not forget the local officials caught up in the aftermath of Irene. We’ve seen tremendous leadership from people like Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee and Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas and their respective town board members and employees. We’ve seen them in action, and we admire their commitment to helping their communities.
The real story on Labor Day weekend was the community spirit of helping those in need. We can’t thank the volunteers enough for raking, and cleaning and shoveling. Some were residents and others were visiting Essex County from all over the state and as far away as California.
While there’s been a lot of progress in the past two weeks, there is much more that needs to be done in this recovery effort.
Lives of many Adirondackers will never be the same after the flooding this year. They’re our neighbors and our friends. Please continue to help make someone’s life a little less hectic this fall.